6

The official Microsoft page at Microsoft-Windows-11

states as requirement:

  • Processor 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible
  • 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)

Does this mean there will be no 32-bit edition of Windows 11?

As far as I know, usually one can run 32 bit Windows on any CPU, so the CPU requirement may be totally unrelated.

I cannot find any data whether a 32 bit version will exist. I see unofficial downloads for both 32 bit and 64 bit, but these may well be not the final word. Does anyone have a definite official statement?

UPDATE

I found the following for Windows 10 at Windows 10 Requirements

Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, all new Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution. This does not impact 32-bit customer systems that are manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10; Microsoft remains committed to providing feature and security updates on these devices, including continued 32-bit media availability in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios

This is for Windows 10, not 11, but there seems to be a trend here. Logically it makes sense, but looking for official statements specifically for Windows 11 and certainty here.

The thing is - how does a customer upgrade to Windows 11 if he runs Windows 10 32 bit? That still is supported right now, per the above statement (on "non OEM channels").

10
  • 2
    @Smock If I'm reading that correctly, you are saying that some versions of Windows 10 for the amd64 platform don't support running 32-bit x86 code? If yes, can you provide a citation? I couldn't find anything on Google and I'm pretty sure I'm running some 32-bit software on Windows 10 21H1 x64.
    – gronostaj
    Jun 25 at 11:50
  • 1
    @gronostaj Apologies! I thought it was a 32-bit app refusing to run on 64-bit but it turns out it's actually a 16-bit app! (I thought it was one particular 32-bit app that had trouble rather than all of them, but forgot I found it was 16-bit) But the point still applies (just with needing W10 32-bit to run older 16-bit applications) that there are legacy applications (even 16-bit ones) out there that are still required for legacy use and for whatever reason can't be updated/changed (niche app, with developers long gone).
    – Smock
    Jun 25 at 12:05
  • @Smock - eventually, someone has to make the call to no longer support running 32-bit apps on a 64-bit platform. macOS was a decade ahead of Microsoft in this, so there's lots of 'history of what can happen'. macOS would run 32-bit code on the 64-bit OS for about a decade after the OS itself went 64-bit only. On macOS now, the next phase is already in swing… Intel code now runs under emulation; everything native is now ARM code. That will presumably also get several years transition time, before becoming truly obsolete. In the meantime, there's always VM.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 25 at 12:10
  • I'm sure Microsoft's stance on this is still in the aftermath of the great XP debacle… which just would not die, no matter how out of date it was.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 25 at 12:12
  • 1
    @Tetsujin well we've meandered far away from the question here anyway, and haven't really added anything to the question
    – Smock
    Jun 25 at 12:33
5

Does this mean there will be no 32-bit edition of Windows 11?

That’s exactly what it means, Windows 11 requires a processor support for (x86-64, AMD64, Intel 64). However, 32-bit applications will continue to run on Windows 11, through WoW64.

As far as I know, usually one can run 32 bit Windows on any CPU, so the CPU requirement may be totally unrelated.

I cannot find any data whether a 32 bit version will exist. I see unofficial downloads for both 32 bit and 64 bit, but these may well be not the final word. Does anyone have a definite official statement?

Microsoft has indicated implicitly that only 64-bit versions of Windows 11 will exist. The leak version of the Insider Preview build of Windows 11 is 64-bit.

This is evident by Windows 10 have the processor requirement that indicates the following:

1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC

Where Windows 11 requirements have indicated the following:

1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)

By requiring a 64-bit processor Microsoft has made it clear a 32-bit version of Windows 11 will not exist. If they planned to release a 32-bit version then they wouldn’t have added the 64-bit requirement.

how does a customer upgrade to Windows 11 if he runs Windows 10 32 bit? That still is supported right now, per the above statement (on "non OEM channels").

The customer doesn’t upgrade to Windows 11 since the machine you describe would NOT satisfy the soft and hard floor requirements for Windows 11. If the machine has 4 GB of memory you might be able to perform a clean installation of Windows 11. However, the machine would also have to have a 64-bit processor.

2
  • While sometimes one has to read Tea leafs to understand actions Microsoft takes, in this case by requiring a 64-bit processor and not explicitly stating the requirements for a 32-bit and 64-bit version of Windows 11, Microsoft has implied there isn’t a 32-bit version. The fact only a 64-bit version of the Insider Preview leaked ISO exists is more than enough evidence to explicitly make the statement a 32-bit version of Windows 11 will not exist
    – Ramhound
    Jun 25 at 12:50
  • Microsoft is very likely getting pressure from Intel and AMD so they can discontinue Legacy mode in their processors products. Intel and AMD were also the behind the reasons Windows 7 explicitly does support newer processors. Intel and AMD already want to advanced the x86_64 architecture continue to advance big.LITTLE architecture designs to their products.
    – Ramhound
    Jun 25 at 14:04
1

Not only do you have to have a 64bit processor, so no there will be no 32bit version. Also I got this error when trying to upgrade to 11

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